County councillors in Lancashire are calling on the government to introduce a minimum price for alcohol.
Lancashire County Council – in partnership with other councils – is to lobby local MPs and the government to enforce a price of at least 50p per unit.
The aim is to improve public health and at the same time reduce the burden on the NHS and other public services.
Councillors voted to support the campaign after hearing about the countywide cost of alcohol misuse – both human and financial – at a meeting of the full council today (Thursday 18 July).
County Councillor Azhar Ali, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said afterwards: "Excessive drinking is blighti! ng the lives of many people across Lancashire, not just those individuals who misuse alcohol but also their relatives, friends, and others who suffer as a result. The ripples spread very wide indeed.
"Added to this is the demand on public services, which must pick up the pieces when alcohol abuse affects health, behaviour, and family relationships. There is enormous cost involved, both financially and in terms of the sheer misery it can cause.
"There is clear evidence that levels of drinking relate to how easily people can get hold of alcohol, and price is an important factor in that."
"Although the majority of people drink responsibly, alcohol misuse is a cause of great harm to communities across the county," feels County Councillor Gina Dowding, Lancaster Central, who seconded the notice of motion, "both to individuals' health and also through related issues of crime and anti-social behaviour.
"As elected representatives of our communities we have a responsibility to stand up and do our best to tackle this problem. The county council has recently become responsible for public health and we want to use our considerable lobbying power to influence government policy.
"We will work with our 12 district councils, as well as Blackpool, Blackburn with Darwen and our partners in the health and voluntary sector, to add our voice to others who are calling for action in this important area."